Ruins at Joya de Ceren. Photo © Jaime Jacques.

Day Trips from San Salvador

Two day trips in the vicinity of San Salvador stand out: the unique ruins of Joya del Cerén and exploring the suburb of Santa Tecla. It’s easy to spend a few days in Santa Tecla if you have the time, but if you stop by only for a day, definitely aim for the weekend to hit Paseo El Carmen for the street fair.

Shot of tequila, sangrita, and lime. Photo © Konstantin Kalishko/123rf.

Regional Foods and Drinks of Mexico

With its varied terrain and diverse local traditions, it’s not surprising that Mexican food is highly regional. Certain states distinguish themselves for particular dishes and ingredients, while other treats such as aguas frescas and thick egg custard for dessert are widely enjoyed. Here’s an overview of Mexican cuisine from region to region, along with popular items from mezcal to nieves.

El Mercado Viejo in Masaya. Photo © Carles-Amalaric Navarro Parcerisas/123rf.

Sights in Masaya, Nicaragua

Soak in the culture and people-watching of Masaya’s plazas, especially the throbbing social and commercial heart of the mostly indigenous Monimbó neighborhood, peruse crafts markets where find all manner of delightful surprises: locally made leather shoes, brass, iron, carved wood, and textile handicrafts, plus paintings, clothing and hammocks, and cool off after an intense morning in the market on the windswept malecón.

The carved and painted front of San Andrés Xecul's Technicolor church.

The Many Sights Near Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

The towns and villages surrounding Quetzaltenango make for some interesting day trips. Found nearby are the Santa María and Santiaguito Volcanoes, hot springs, Indian markets, colorful churches, and an exquisite crater lake.

Off-street art gallery in Cuba. Photo © Brian Snelson, licensed Creative Commons usage.

Where to Find Cuban Arts and Crafts

The Cuban government bans the sale and export of antiques. Hence, there are no stores selling antiques to tourists. Fortunately, there are an abundance of galleries and markets that feature handmade items and artworks, from souvenir-style trinkets and kitsch to collectable pieces.

Flowers on display in the Chichicastenango market. Photo © Al Argueta.

Exploring Chichicastenango in Guatemala’s Western Highlands

Chichicastenango (Chichi, for short) will provide you with an opportunity to take in a unique highland market experience. Today, Chichi is still very much a K’iche’ town with strong adherence to the old ways, and there are plenty of sights to take in outside the bustling market. Learn about this Mayan village’s history, its sights, and how to handle yourself in the marketplace.

Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

Saigon’s Ben Thanh Market

Easily the most recognizable structure in Saigon, Ben Thanh Market–located at the north edge of Quach Thi Trang roundabout–is the original commercial heart of the city and a prime spot for souvenir shopping. Learn about its history and its popular day and night markets.

Customers entering and browsing the Mercado Central.

Sights in West-Central San José, Costa Rica

Sights in west-central San José are big on culture. Fans of architecture and history buffs won’t want to miss spending an afternoon here, and those looking for true cultural immersion should definitely hit up the market scene. Here’s where to go.